Sunday, November 10, 2019

The White Storm 2: Drug Lords / 掃毒2天地對決 - 2019 Hawaii International Film Festival Movie Review

The Movie: The White Storm 2: Drug Lords / 掃毒2天地對決

The Director: Herman Yau

The Cast: Andy Lau, Louis Koo, Michael Miu and Karena Lam

The Story: A wealthy businessman tries to take down a drug kingpin that he used to work with, while a policeman tries to find justice without breaking the law.

The Review:
If there was such a thing, Andy Lau and Louis Koo would be the current and reigning Hong Kong action movie tag team champions. It seems like every time I turn around, they have a new movie where they are best friends, brothers, or mortal enemies and sometimes all of the above at the same time. Their focus seems to be on crime thrillers that feature lots of guns and tone of impressive stunt work and this movie is definitely no exception.

Both are great actors and bring their A game every single time and individually they each have enough star power and charisma to fill a feature film on their own. Put them together and that's where the real magic happens whether they are trading punches during a crazy action sequence or throwing juicy dialog back and forth during moments where the sparring is more cerebral. In this movie, the latter is more prevalent so we really get to see why the two work so well together on screen although no doubt there is still plenty of action. Veteran action and martial arts star Kiu Wai Miu is also on board as a policeman struggling to stay on the right side of the law after drug violence causes a family tragedy.

One of the things I was most impressed with while watching the action scenes play out was the innovative use of vehicles whether they were being used as battering rams or sent flying down a bank of escalators. Of course, there always seemed to be people in the way every time or car or van was going at high speeds so big shout out to all the stunt men for all the work they put in. Of course, we all know, stunt crews take every effort to make sure everything they do is 100% safe and that doesn't take anything away from all the moments where I could have sworn a person just got crushed between two vehicles or some other form of crazy carnage,

Hong Kong cinema seems to trot out a steady stream of crime thrillers and gang war action movies and I never get tired of any of it, I think because the stories are always really well put together with plenty of emotional beats to keep you engaged. There are so many side stories for peripheral characters to have their moments and, when something happens to them, there is an emotional impact. Sure, there are plenty of generic good guys and bad guys who you know are just there to get dispensed of in some ultra violent manner and there is also a more limited roster of supporting characters that you get to know and hope they make it through.

The Verdict:
The White Storm 2: Drug Lords has all the action and drama you are looking for from a Hong Kong crime thriller. Director Herman Yau sets the stage perfectly for Andy Lau and Louis Koo to do their thing and, if those two actors keep working together as much as they have the last few years, I will be there for all of it.

The White Storm 2: Drug Lords is an official selection of the 2019 Hawaii International Film Festival.

To keep track of all my reviews and festival coverage please go to: TwoOhSix at HIFF 2019.

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